The pressure just got a little more intense for Carl Edwards.
The Sprint Cup driver is already atop the points standings. But now the stakes have been raised.
"The deal is, as if we didn't already have enough to race for, and people weren't already going crazy on the racetrack, Sprint is offering $3 million to anyone who can win one of the next five races and then also win at Atlanta, which would be the sixth race," Edwards said.
The Sprint Summer Showdown, as it's known, begins on July 31. Fans pick a driver online for the races at Indianapolis, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol. One fan who picks the week's winning driver is selected as a finalist to attend the Sept. 4 race at Atlanta. If one of the drivers who won in those previous races wins at Atlanta, the driver, the driver's charity and the fan will each win $1 million.
Edwards, who visited ESPN on Monday, easily ranked the worst of his trademark backflips after winning a race.
"The worst one is by far my first win at Atlanta [in 2005]. I darn near busted my head. I just didn't care. I was in a whole different world. It was a big win, man," Edwards said. "I didn't put much effort into the flip. It was ugly. But it's OK. As long as you're only doing flips when you win, you're just a winner who fell down."
And for the best one, Edwards said he really couldn't decide. But winning a race with $3 million on the line might inspire him to pull out all the stops.
"That's right. Exactly. Stay tuned," he said. "If I win the $3 million, that'd be huge."
Edwards said he feels for the fans that are selected to watch the final race.
"Can you imagine the fan that wins a million bucks? When I watch a sport and I know someone in it, I'm really interested. But if I were watching David Ortiz, and I know if he hit a home run I get a million dollars? I mean that would change my fandom to a whole other level," Edwards said. "There are going to be people who are just out-of-their-mind excited."
And that's where the pressure comes in.
"Just think about how mad they'll be if their guy runs second," Edwards said. "If you lose by a foot and a dude loses a million bucks. ... Whew, it might be ugly."